Dr. Paul and Judy Hegstrom - Founders of Life Skills International

The Founders

Dr. Paul and Judy Hegstrom

Paul Hegstrom lived the first forty years of his life not understanding the driving force that caused him to self-destruct again and again. He could not understand why his anger would never subside. He could not communicate or identify his feelings. His anger harmed his family, and nothing was ever resolved. He knew something was wrong, but lived his life in denial. Over $20,000 was spent on counseling where he was given “labels,” however, it never got to the root of his problem. This only added to his anger and frustration. His 16-year marriage ended because he could not get the help he needed. The violence continued in subsequent relationships and finally, after being involved in a life-threatening situation that could have meant 15-20 years in prison, he asked for help. It was the hardest thing he ever had to do. 


 As a result of asking for and receiving help from a pilot program, Paul found some answers for his behavior, but it still wasn’t enough. He began searching for deeper answers. He spent well over 18,000 hours in research with the goal of developing a curriculum that would offer hope and help to the abuser, the victim, and the families involved in domestic violence. “Learning to Live, Learning to Love” is the result of his research, together with over 36,000 hours spent facilitating groups for the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

     In 1983, Paul and Judy were remarried. They brought healing to their own family as they worked to set up Life Skills International (formerly DVP, Domestic Violence Project), a non-profit domestic violence organization.

     As a testimony to the program’s effectiveness, their second marriage was free of emotional and physical abuse since its beginning. All three children and their families live violence free lives. They are a part of the healing that is offered to tens of thousands around the world through the Life Skills program. Life Skills has expanded into an international program with over 100 centers across the United States and around the world.

“What we understand, we can deal with. It’s what we can’t understand that drives us crazy.
— Dr. Paul Hegstrom - Founder


·  Ph.D. in Pastoral Marriage and Family Therapy, 
    Evangelical Theological Seminary

·  M.S. in Pastoral Counseling, Evangelical
    Theological Seminary

·  B.S. in Pastoral Counseling, Evangelical
    Theological Seminary

·  Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters,
    Evangelical Theological Seminary

·  Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and
    Domestic Violence Counselor Endorsement, 
    National Board of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists

·  Level IV Domestic Violence Certification, 
   National Association of Forensic Counselors

·  Member of AACC (American Association of
    Christian Counselors)

·  Member of CAPS (Christian Association of
    Psychological Studies)

·  18,000 hours of research in Domestic Violence
    and related issues

·  36,000 hours facilitating clinics for victims and
    perpetrators of abuse

·  An internationally recognized authority in attitude  
   and behavioral changes

·  Author of Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them
    Beacon Hill Press, Spring 1999

·  Author of Broken Children, Grown Up Pain,
   Beacon Hill Press, Summer 2001

·  Founder/Developer of the Life Skills International